J Mascis releases first ever solo album supported by European tour

J Mascis
J Mascis

Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis, one of the pioneers of grunge rock music is about to introduce another side to his unlimited talents when he releases his first ever solo album Several Shades of Why on March 14th. The album is preceded by the release of the single Not Enough on February 28th.

The album marks a departure from the fuzzy electric guitars that have been Mascis trademark since those early days with Dinosaur Jr. and is instead an acoustic collection of some incredible beauty.

Recorded at Amherst Massachusetts’ Bisquiteen Studios, the album was created with the help of a few friends. Notable amongst them are Kurt Vile, Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kurt Fedora (long-time collaborator), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Matt Valentine (The Golden Road), and Suzanne Thorpe (Wounded Knees).

Together in small mutable groupings, they conjure up classic sounds ranging from English-tinged folk to drifty, West Coast-style singer/songwriterism. But every track, every note even, bears that distinct Mascis watermark.

Mascics comments;

“Megan from Sub Pop has wanted me to do this record for a long time, she was very into it when I was playing solo a lot in the early 2000s, around the time of the Fog album [2002’s Free So Free].  She always wanted to know when I’d do a solo record. Several Shades of Why came out of that. There are a couple of songs that are older, but the rest is new this year. And it’s basically all acoustic. There’s some fuzz, but it’s acoustic through fuzz. There’re no drums on it, either. Just one tambourine song, that’s it. It was a specific decision to not have drums. Usually I like to have them, but going drum-less pushes everything in a new direction, and makes it easier to keep things sounding different.”

In celebration of the release, a free download of  wonderful album track ‘Is It Done’ has been made available, downloadable direct from Sub Pop.

In this amusing video interview Mascis gives an insight into the new album as well as a quick look around his studio.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLebfV0n6Ak

Playing European shows in support of his forthcoming album Several Shades of Why, Mascis will arrive in London on April 14th for an intimate performance at London’s Cargo. The full European dates are:

13th – Dublin, Whelans

14th – London, Cargo

16th – Paris, Point Ephemere

17th – Milan, Bloom

18th – Rome, Circolo degli Artisti

20th – Antwerp, Trix

21st – Amsterdam, Sugar Factory

22nd – Madrid, Moby Dick

23rd – Barcelona, La (2)

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Sound of Guns on tour with Miles Kane – mp3 ‘Breakwater’ download

sound of guns - breakwater
sound of guns - breakwater

Liverpool’s Sound of Guns have announced a new single Breakwater, scheduled for release on April 4th and taken from their forthcoming album which will be released later this year.

Sound of Guns are offering the track Breakwater as a free mp3 download, the single is backed with two more tracks for its full release via iTunes. The additional tracks will be Statues and Bottled in Birkenhead.

Get a copy of Breakwater at the Sound of Guns site.

Breakwater has already earned the accolade of becoming Single Of The Week at XFM and who seem to have taken a shine to the band, the band’s debut album ‘What Came From Fire’ is in their nominations for the New Music Awards 2011, as voted by its listeners.

Adding more fuel to the fire, the band has a spread of live shows throughout February with The Last Shadow Puppet’s Miles Kane, including HMV’s Next Big Thing w/Funeral Party.

Full tour dates are:

Sat 12             Glasgow King Tuts (with Miles Kane)

Sun 13            London Barfly (HMV Next Big Thing)

Mon 14           Nottingham Bodega (with Miles Kane)

Tues 15           Bristol Fleece (with Miles Kane)

Thurs 17         Coventry Kasbah

Tues 22           Leicester Musician (with Miles Kane)

Wed 23           Leeds Cockpit

Mon 28           Southampton Joiners

March

  • Tue 1              Bristol Louisiana
  • Wed 2             Nottingham Bodega
  • Thurs 3           London XOYO
  • Fri 4                Grimsby I Bar


May

  • Sat 21 Liverpool St Georges Hall (Sound City Festival

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Vivian Girls go all hi-fi on new album Share The Joy

vivian girls
vivian girls

On their third album Share the Joy, Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls continue to sharpen and refine their transcendent mix of garage thrash, girl-group warmth and infectious pop sensibilities.

The trio’s vibrant blend of guitar noise and melodic sweetness has already made Vivian Girls one of America’s most celebrated and influential young bands, and has helped to spark a wave of similarly-inclined female-fronted acts who’ve followed in their wake.

Cassie Ramone and ‘Kickball’ Katy Goodman are joined by new drummer Fiona Campbell in the latest Vivian Girls line up which delivers their most memorable songs and most focused performances yet.

Their new tunes successfully venture into challenging new musical and lyrical territory, reflecting the band members’ developing instrumental rapport and their far-reaching musical influences, while retaining the raw immediacy that originally endeared the group to its fans.

“It’s cleaner and more hi-fi than the previous records,” Cassie says of Share The Joy, which the band recorded at Rear House, the home studio run by Jarvis Taveniere (of the Brooklyn combo Woods), who engineered the album.  “The sound is more open, more free.  I think that this album really shows our strengths as musicians, and shows us melding together musically.  It’s more psychedelic and less shoegaze.  There’s also a lot of organ on it, which is new for us.”

Share the Joy‘s musical and emotional depth is reflected on The Other Girls and Light In Your Eyes, each of which clocks in at over six minutes.  The former song manages to encompass hammering hardcore, Beach Boys-esque melodic bliss, Neil Young/Nirvana-inflected guitar frenzy and ethereal harmonic drone, while the latter closes the album on a triumphant note of surging sonic uplift.

Elsewhere, Dance If You Wanna and Take it As It Comes rank with the band’s most intoxicating pop confections, while Lake House and Vanishing of Time maintain a thoughtful, introspective tone that may come as a surprise to those who’d had Vivian Girls pegged as a lo-fi garage outfit.

Cassie Ramone reflects on the latest album;

“Share the Joy has the most diverse batch of songs of any of our albums, I feel like these songs are more expansive; a lot of the themes and lyrics are less direct than other albums.  These songs focus a lot on the themes of alienation, reconciliation, identity, and trying to figure out what really matters in life.  It’s a dark album, but unlike our first two albums, it has a happy ending.

“Our music continues to get more and more defined and developed, but it’s never going to be completely polished. A thing I like about our band is that we seem to mean different things to different people.  Another thing I’m proud of is that, while a lot of people may have initially heard about us through internet buzz and things like that, I think our audience likes our music because it’s honest and because we mean it.  I think that people can pick up on that.”

The Vivian Girls album Share the Joy is released on April 11th through the Polyvinyl label.

In the meantime you can download the track I Heard You Say for free as a taster for the full album.

Vivian Girls will be resident on the Bruise Cruise in Miami during the last week of February and will undertake a month long tour of the US in April.

UK dates are promised with details yet to be confirmed.

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Emily Jane White ‘Cliff’ video from the new album ‘Ode To The Sentience’

emily jane white - photo cam archer
emily jane white - photo cam archer

Following on from her two critically acclaimed albums Dark Undercoat and Victorian America, the Californian singer/songwriter Emily Jane White will release her latest full length Ode To The Sentience on February 14th.

Ode To The Sentience is a collection of ten uncluttered and captivating songs that explore the sentimental qualities of the singers past experiences, giving the album a personal and intimate feel

“I found catharsis in creating these songs,they speak to the emotional simplicity and complexity of human relationship. I chose to call the record ‘Ode To Sentience’ because it is the capacity to feel that creates a shared human experience of music. We all share the potency of music by having the capacity to feel, and I found the simplicity of this fact very beautiful” says Emily Jane White.

Stunningly simple yet achingly beautiful, here is the video made to accompany the track Cliff from the latest album.

Emily Jane White – Cliff

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Another track from the album Ode To The Sentience called Law, has been made available for free download on the Emily Jane White artist page.

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Free Music Downloads from Amplifier and The Get Up Kids

Amplifier – The Octopus

Amplifier
Amplifier

Amplifier release their huge concept album The Octopus at the end of January, a two disc effort that allows for a full scale exploration of the bands unique panoramic soundscapes and vision.

Three years in the making the album is described by the band as ‘probably the best thing we will ever do.’ Amplifier are giving away a taster of the album with this free track The Wave:

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The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules

the get up kids
the get up kids

Kansas City’s The Get Up Kids release their fifth studio album There Are Rules on February 28th, with the single Automatic due out on January 24th.

Seven years after what looked to be their final album ‘Guilt Show’, with the group disbanding a year later in 2005 after 10 years of constant touring, The Get Up Kids returned to the studio in 2009, sparked by a spur-of-the-moment decision to start writing songs together again, made while they were rehearsing to promote the tenth anniversary edition of their breakout album ‘Something to Write Home About’.

The first fruits of these new recordings was ‘Simple Science’, released in April 2010 – an EP that burst, unannounced, into the Billboard Top 200.  But that was just a taste – a precursor to the full-length album, which Alternative Press magazine, upon hearing a whisper of its existence, placed on their “most anticipated…” list.

The result can be heard on There Are Rules, a collection of twelve songs that will prove surprising and familiar, created by a band that has been given a new lease of life and have grabbed it with no chance of turning back.

The Get Up Kids are giving away a free download of the track Pararelevant as a taster of whats in store on the eagerly awaited album.

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